It’s Transgender Day of Visibility – why it should matter to every liberal

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Visibility. This afternoon, I’m heading into Edinburgh for the Trans Pride Scotland event and I’m really looking forward to seeing the stalls, workshops, talks and meeting lots of lovely people.

Today really matters to me. As a liberal, I instinctively strive for the rights of people to be able to express who they are without fear. When I was at university, so many of my lesbian and gay friends weren’t out. When I went to uni in 1985, technically homosexuality had only been legal for five years in Scotland. Homophobia still exists, but we have come a long way since then and we have a job of work to do to maintain and continue that progress.

While rights and recognition of transgender people have  improved in the last couple of decades, there is so much more to be done. Recent efforts to simplify the gender recognition system have inspired a bit of a transphobic backlash. Open any right wing tabloid these days and you’ll find scaremongering inaccurate bile which makes life so much more difficult for transgender people.

Imagine how you would feel if your very right to exist and be accepted as who you are was called in to question? Imagine how that must feel if you are a child or young person struggling to come to terms with your gender identity.

As a cisgender woman and a feminist, I’m not prepared to stand by why anyone is discriminated against and attacked. The words of Martin Niemoller are never far away from my mind and my love for my transgender and non binary friends is never far away from my heart.

The bottom line is that everyone should be able to express who they are, something very individual to them, as they see fit. They should be accepted and welcomed. For me, that’s a basic part of a liberal society.

I have been in total awe of my transgender friends these past few days. They have been under sustained attack on social media and have dealt with it with resilience, patience and humour. The bile and unpleasantness coming in their direction has been awful to see. That’s why I will always stand with them.

Two particular items are worth drawing to your attention. Jennie Rigg wrote an article calling out  the scaremongering tactics of those opposed to transgender rights.

LGBT+ Lib Dems provided a helpful Twitter summary of the issues around gender recognition and proposed changes – what they are and what they are not.

You need to read the whole thread to see the whole story but it is an excellent summary.

It’s really important to have good and credible sources of information at a time when there is so much scaremongering about. The Scottish Transgender Alliance resources page is a good place to start.

So today, and every day, let all of us of a liberal persuasion do all we can to create that world to which we all aspire, where we recognise that  trans men are men and trans women are women and non binary  and genderqueer people  are recognised as they wish to be. None of this comes into conflict with any other kind of equality.

If you are one of those people who think that we should be talking about housing and NHS and not all this stuff that nobody cares about, then I refer you back to Mr Neimoller.  When a group of people are targeted for expressing who they are, that has much wider implications for our society and our democracy. We can defend our way of life and call for the investment our public services need as well. Liberals have a lot to do – and we have to show that we are up to the challenge.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Love you

  • If you don’t see that standing up for the rights if others is as important as the NHS, education, etc, then you’re not a liberal. End of.

    Enjoy the day, Caron!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 31st Mar '18 - 3:06pm


    That is a very good article, appreciate this.

    e are in a period of transition where on the one hand recognition , for marriage , identity, are accepted, or should be, but on the other, the state involvement and just how much of it, we want, is debatable.

    Where this is the debate, it is a good one, and feminists and transgender activists should be involved in a constructive way if we can gain understanding.

    As too often we actually endure anger and prejudice instead, articles like this put a stop to that and so are worthwhile.

  • Transgender rights are human rights.

  • OnceALibDem 1st Apr '18 - 11:54pm

    Excellent stuff from ‘Plus’ – just don’t scroll down ‘below the fold’!

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